NBC Loss With ‘Leno’ Nobody’s Gain as Viewers Vanish

By Andrew Gauthier 


NBC’s exit from scripted series to air “The Jay Leno Show” weeknights at 10 p.m. has left 1.82 million young viewers up for grabs, and CBS and ABC have let most of them slip away six weeks into the television season.

CBS, based in New York, has lost 162,000 viewers in the 18- 49 age group advertisers target, while ABC has added 245,000 this season through Nov. 1, according to Nielsen Co. data. Combined, CBS and ABC have gained 83,000 in the demographic. Fox doesnt compete at 10 p.m.

The results show competitors have struggled to attract the TV homes NBC surrendered when the network replaced its 10 p.m. dramas. While some shows including ABC’s “Private Practice” have added viewers, most of the 1.82 million young adults NBC lost have scattered — to the hundreds of cable channels available, or to the Web, or they are watching programs on digital-video recorders.

“ABC and CBS didn’t really pounce on the Leno move,” said Don Seaman, head of TV research at MPG North America, a New York-based media buyer whose clients include McDonald’s Corp., Sears Holding Corp. and Carnival Cruise Lines. “I was kind of surprised that they didn’t go in with some blood in the water and say, ‘Well, let’s put this puppy down.'” More…